Calling the Code - a coping mechanism in 14 lines
We all have different ways of dealing with the stress of what we do on the job. This is one of them.It all started simply enough – a usual day at the station house. We checked in, we checked out the rig, we did our station duties and filled out the logbook; we looked up our duty roster for the day and we even started working on CE’s. There are mornings that the calls come right away, and days you actually get to unpack your gear; some days you might even be able to have a cup of coffee and relax for a bit – but the calls always come. When the calls come, you never know what it’s going to be when you get there or what you’re going to see. You don’t know whether the person you’ll be dealing with even wants you there, or if someone else called on their behalf. You don’t know whether it’s a life-or-death situation, or a stubbed toe. None of that matters. When the calls come, we roll.
Some days you never forget. Some cases stay with you throughout an entire career; you may never remember a name, or a date, but you always remember the faces. A blur of activity, a rush of frantic haste, and then the silence that comes at the end of a futile race to a foregone conclusion. And at the center of it all, one calm, still, angelic face.
When it all comes crashing down on us, how do we cope? How do the comforters ask for comfort? How do you bear the unbearable? Some of us write letters, write articles, or write blogs. Some of us talk. Some of us cry. Some of us punch walls; some of us turn inward and turn mean. Some of us drink. Some of us do some combination of all of these things and more.
Some of us – as silly as it seems – well, we write poetry.
I see her as I'd wish, this stranger's child.
Her smile alive, her childhood still intact,
her purity of skin left undefiled.
The trace of time's caress could not detract
from beauty that was hers by birth and right.
I see her thus. Not as I saw her last,
surrounded by the remnants of my fight
to bring her back - her final struggle past.
Pale lips curved, an enigmatic smile.
Those lips I vainly sealed with mine to breathe
the life back into her. So for a while
I stood -- abashed, exhausted and bereaved,
silenced, for all my furious battle, lost --
Compelled by those who live to hide that cost.
Ted D.Last edit by Joe V on Oct 12, '10 : Reason: formatting for easier reading
Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 160; Likes: 590Oct 7, '10What a beautiful article. It brought tears to my eyes. Few people understand what it is like to have this experience. I thank you for putting it into words so beautifully. Keep writing poetry and bringing it to us.Oct 7, '10Heartfelt and very well-written. You truly painted the picture for me.
Bravo, from a former EMT (who knows whereof you speak) and a current writer and RN.
Thank you.Oct 8, '10That was beautiful! as a former EMT and current school nurse with special needs kids I found it very touching. I have had a rough week, thank you for the moment of grace and clarity.Oct 24, '10Absolutely beautiful and heartrending. I can visualize that little girl's face as I type this through my tears.
Keep writing, Ted....you are very talented. Who knows, your ability to put your feelings on paper or a computer screen may also save your sanity one day, when you've got a pile of bottled-up emotions that need someplace to go. Bless your for sharing this with us!Oct 29, '10[speechless and amazed]
What a beautiful poem, you truly have talent. Keep on sharing your gift with us.Nov 1, '10Well written, ...keep writting for those who have that feeling... though hard to express , like me!!!Nov 6, '10I too have had a terrible week as a school nurse and I thank you for giving me pause to think and give thanks.
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